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welcome back, Mike Oehler, author of two books on eco building!

 
paul wheaton
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I have been studying alternative building for 25 years.  Every eco structure has up sides and down sides and often the down sides give the upsides just a narrow margin of benefit over conventional building.   If you paid for the labor, nearly all eco structures would end up costing more than a conventional building.

Except for mike oehler's designs.   

Mike Oehler's designs are a complete overhaul of many aspects of building structures.  If you embrace one simple idea, the cost of materials and the time it takes to build are cut by a factor of THREE!  Further, no other design aligns with the earth as much as a Mike oehler structure. 

Mike is going to hang out with us through Earth Day (April 22).   I hope that folks can come up with some really tough questions for him!  And for those bold enough to ask those questions, we're going to give away  .... not just books .... but his workshop available on DVD ($95 value).



The $50 and Up Underground House Book
The Earth Sheltered Solar Greenhouse Book
Combined Underground House Workshop and Shelter Seminar


Four people will be picked and each person will have their choice of one of his books or the three DVD workshop.

Here's the particulars about getting something:



  • [li]I have a little program that will collect all of the posts to this forum for a date range.  It will then mix them all up and show me ten posts at random.   From those ten, I'll pick out the best four posts.  I'll then pass on the email address of those four people to Mike, and leave it between the five of you on who gets what.

    [/li]

    [li]I'll do this late in the day on Earth Day (or shortly after).   The more you post in this forum, the better your chances of getting a book.

    [/li]

    [li]A "good post" is a post that asks a great question, an answer to a question or even just an offering of some interesting information.   Posts that just say "thanks" or "hi" don't count as good posts.

    [/li]



  • My impression of Mike has always been that he's a little internet shy.  So how did we get this shindig worked out?  Well, it seems Mike has been bitten by the youtube bug.  And he's bonkers about his new series of videos, "Major Miracles Superhero" available at his new site http://hipnet.tv

    Welcome Mike!
     
    paul wheaton
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    Just a reminder:  please keep this thread on the topic of the event.  Please direct discussion about alternative building, including questions for mike, in this forum, but outside of this thread.

    Posts in this thread don't count for the freebies!
     
    paul wheaton
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    [size=20pt]PLEASE![/size] post stuff about alternative building to a thread other than this one. 

    Here is the link to the forum full of threads:  http://www.permies.com/permaculture-forums/5.0
     
    Mike Oehler
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    Thanks for the kind words, Paul. It's nice to be back.
    READERS: FORGET THIS NONSENSE ABOUT REALLY TOUGH QUESTIONS. EASY ONES ONLY, PLEASE.
     
    Abe Connally
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    Mike,

    I am a HUGE fan of your work, and I own a copy of the $50 house book.

    I think Mike's ideas are very revolutionary, and extremely sound.

    I live in northern Mexico, and housing is a major issue around here.  The standard is concrete block or adobe.  Both of these materials rely on standard roof construction, so they don't save much on cost and definitely nothing on labor.  Mike's designs and ideas have changed all that for our community.  Using his methods, comfortable, affordable, and beautiful housing is now accessable to everyone.

    I used some of his concepts for our house on a hillside, that is partially buried.  I think the uphill development is one of the biggest and most important "discovery" by Mike.  It saves a ton on material, design, planning, and piece of mind.  Plus, it gives a really nice dimension to a partially buried house, where you can now have a sunken garden instead of a dark wall.

    Thanks for all of your work, Mike!  We really appreciate you and your ideas!
     
    Nick Ritar
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    Hi,

    Could you provide a little information on your process for waterproofing vertical retaining walls.

    I'm considering building a into the side of a hill and this is my greatest concern.

    Cheers
    Nick

    As an aside here in Australia one of the main reasons given for avoiding earth covered buildings is due to our passion for rainwater harvesting for drinking water. Do you know of any methods for harvesting potable water from an earth roof?
     
    Mike Oehler
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    The waterproofing techniques are amply answe4red in both my books and videos. I answered the rainwater catchment here on one of the threads lin the past 24 hours: the best I've come up with so far is rolling out polyethlene on the earthen roof during rains.
     
    Dustin Hollis
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    Hi, Mike, glad to see you on a forum. I have been a fan for quite a while. Do you need to watch the DVD's to build? I have 20 acres of Pinon pine and Juniper in southern UT that I am thinking about using to build a PSP home.  I have both the Underground House book and the Greenhouse book.
    I also would like an updated opinion on what options are available to me to keep moisture from getting into the posts and bugs from eating the posts. Should I dip them in tar? Char them? Soak them in some preservative? What works?
     
    paul wheaton
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    Reminder:

    1)  posts to this thread do not count toward the promotion.  Posts in this forum (outside of this thread) do count.

    2)  This thread is for discussion of the promotion.  To talk about alternative building, please start a new thread.

     
    Mike Oehler
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    You dont need the DVD's to build, tecknomagus -- the book will do you there -- but you absolutely, positively must have them to design. If you want a light, airy, sunshine and view filled home, that is. If you want a dark, dank vault no you won't need them.

    I char my posts where they go into the ground then wrap them in five garbage bags and tape them up well. However when I did that on the ridge house I ran out of money and the sunken posts stood roofless out in the weather for six or seven hyears. Have serious rot there now where they are in the bags. From now on I;ll make surt that the posts are covered with tarps or polyethlene till i can get a roof on. Now I'm going to sink parallel short posts and bolt them to the damaged ones.
     
    Mike Oehler
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    I will answer no more questions on this thread. -- Mike Oehler
     
    paul wheaton
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    Mike Oehler wrote:
    I will answer no more questions on this thread. -- Mike Oehler


    Thanks Mike! 

     
    paul wheaton
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    The four winners are:

    Burra
    Kathleen Sanderson
    Ken Peavey
    Jami McBride

    Congratulations!  I will send Mike your four email addresses and then leave it to Mike to work out which item you want and how to get it to you.

    Now I want you all to remember that Mike agreed to do this in an effort to promote his new video series.  Please take a moment to visit http://hipnet.tv

    Thanks everybody!



     
    Burra Maluca
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    Woohoooo!  You've no idea how happy I am about this - the Burra is going to become a Hobbitess! 

    It might take a while to actually get round to building it as I'm still stuck indoors on nursing duties, but I can spend the time planning it and as soon as I'm free I'll be down there building my hideaway! 

    Thanks Mike, and thanks Paul for orgnaising it!
     
    Daniel Zimmermann
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    Is Mike still going to be available now the contest is over?
     
    paul wheaton
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    He might.  Probably a little.  I think Mike is super passionate about his show.  If we had a forum to talk about his show, he would probably hang out all day.  I suspect that if he had an extra 10 minutes in a day, he would somehow devote it to his show rather than come here.

    But, I would be glad to be wrong!

    It does seem like Mike has stopped by here once every six months or so when we weren't promoting his stuff.  And he told me that he does come by and read once in a while. 

     
    paul wheaton
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    Mike hit the road at about the exact same time that we wrapped up this promotion.  So he has to get back to his place to send out DVD's and/or books.

     
    Kathleen Sanderson
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    paul wheaton wrote:
    Mike hit the road at about the exact same time that we wrapped up this promotion.  So he has to get back to his place to send out DVD's and/or books.




    Thanks -- I was wondering, because I hadn't heard anything from him.

    Kathleen
     
                                  
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    I just joined the forum, sorry to have missed Mike.  I built my underground place back in 1984 using many of the techniques from the 50 dollar and up book.  Even corresponded via snail mail with Mike at the time.  I've since upgraded the roof of our place with 60 mil EPDM, running it out and away from the house 8 feet to create an umbrella.  I've no doubt that material will last beyond my grandchildren's lifetimes.

    We plant squash on the roof during the growing season.  The leaves, a foot above the surface, shade the roof and aid in keeping our place very cool...

    We live in an area which often gets 30 below zero (F) temperatures in the winter, but we are snug and cozy and use very little wood in our fireplace (which heats our centrally located sauna, acting as a plenum)...

     
    Kathleen Sanderson
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    woods and water wrote:
    I just joined the forum, sorry to have missed Mike.  I built my underground place back in 1984 using many of the techniques from the 50 dollar and up book.  Even corresponded via snail mail with Mike at the time.  I've since upgraded the roof of our place with 60 mil EPDM, running it out and away from the house 8 feet to create an umbrella.  I've no doubt that material will last beyond my grandchildren's lifetimes.

    We plant squash on the roof during the growing season.  The leaves, a foot above the surface, shade the roof and aid in keeping our place very cool...

    We live in an area which often gets 30 below zero (F) temperatures in the winter, but we are snug and cozy and use very little wood in our fireplace (which heats our centrally located sauna, acting as a plenum)...




    This is a great recommendation for Mike's methods!  Thanks for posting!  I'd love to see pictures!  And I like the idea of planting squash (or something -- might have to do something more cold-hardy in my climate) on the roof for additional shading.  I've thought that a low-growing perennial shrub cover up there might be a really good idea, as it would catch and hold snow in the winter, and slow the wind somewhat at ground level, too.

    Kathleen
     
                                  
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    Here's a link to postings on Country Plans.Com of our place:
    http://countryplans.com/smf/index.php?topic=1164.0


     
    Burra Maluca
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    Thanks for posting that link - your place looks fantastic!

    I noticed this...  we don't have any 'soil' on our roof at all...we put compost and straw, leaves, compost, plant squash, straw, leaves, compost...plant squash...and let the organics build over time.  That fascinates me as I don't have a lot of soil to play with so I may have to cheat with the roof covering and use straw or sawdust, possibly composted, to pad out the soil.  Can you give me a few more details on what you did?
     
                                  
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    Soil can weigh as much as 150 pounds per cubic foot...I figure organics weigh a lot less...water weighs 62.4 pounds per cubic foot.  Also organics don't have the likelihood of sharp pebbles, etc...which could damage the EPDM.  Pretty much as I wrote it is how we did it...we make mounds of compost in various places on the roof each year in which to plant squash...perhaps 8 to 10 mounds...and let the squash ramble.  We live far enough north that (so far) we haven't had problems with bugs bothering the plants, etc.  After harvest we place rotted straw over the entire roof...as much as 8 to 12 inches...and then let it snow, let it snow. 
     
    allen lumley
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    Bump Big Al
     
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